Why we use Campfire at home


When I tell people I use Campfire to communicate with my wife Julie during the day, they’re often surprised.

The perception is that Campfire is a productivity tool – and productivity tools are designed for work, not for home. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

We have twin boys – life is hectic. We need to make good use of the 8-10 hours we’re apart Monday through Friday.

The best part? Conversations about chores are taken care of during the day, so our time spent in person is better. We don’t talk about the daily grind in person. We catch up about friends, family, work and the world.

So why Campfire vs. other communication tools?

Chat now or chat later.

Unlike instant messaging, the other person doesn’t have to be online to keep a conversation going. Campfire is a persistent chat, keeping all previous messages in front of us.

We can write freely, knowing the other person will hop back into the room later and see everything that was written.

This happens a lot. I close my laptop and go to a coffee shop. Julie closes her browser and goes to meetings. That doesn’t mean we should wait to write. We’ll just forget later.

And of course if we’re both in the room, the conversation can be instant. It’s the best of both worlds.

Messages never get lost.

Services like Yahoo IM or iMessage are imperfect. We’ve all heard the phrase, “didn’t you get my last IM?” That’s painful.

That doesn’t happen on Campfire. If we see a message in the room, it went through.

And searching for a specific message is a breeze, unlike most IM clients.

It’s quiet and private.

We’re both in office settings or public places like coffee shops. Strangers don’t want to hear about our daily chores, nor do I want them listening in.

It runs in the browser. Zero software needed.

Julie doesn’t have administrator access on her work computer, so she can’t install any software.

Campfire works in any browser with no additional software and zero configuration.

We have browsers open all day, every day. Why pick up our iPhones for an iMessage when it’s far easier to stay in Chrome? Why run a separate app?

There’s an iPhone app.

If I leave my computer and hit the road, I can pop into Campfire from my phone. The same conversation and history is available, without having to worry about configuring different IM clients.

All of our messages are there. They aren’t split up between email, IM, and iMessage.

It’s free for up to five users.

All this at no cost? Amazing.